Anasuya Sengupta makes history as the first Indian to win Best Actress at Cannes.

Cannes – Anasuya Sengupta made history as the first Indian performer to win Best Actress at the renowned Cannes Film Festival. Sengupta’s performance in “The Shameless,” directed by Bulgarian filmmaker Konstantin Bojanov, garnered her the Un Certain Regard Prize for Best Actress, a noteworthy achievement in Indian cinema. 

“The Shameless” portrays the riveting narrative of Renuka, a sex prostitute who flees a Delhi brothel after murdering a police officer. Sengupta’s outstanding portrayal of Renuka charmed both spectators and critics. In her acceptance speech, she dedicated her prize to the world’s LGBTQ and oppressed populations, saying, “You don’t have to be queer to fight for equality; you don’t have to be colonized to understand that colonizing is pathetic—wwe just need to be very, very decent human beings.”

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival was a watershed moment for India. Aside from Sengupta’s historic victory, Shyam Benegal’s “Manthan” had a special showing nearly 48 years after its debut. Indian films and actors received numerous nominations, demonstrating the expanding prominence of Indian cinema on the global stage.

In addition to Sengupta’s success, two Indian films achieved significant progress in the La Cinef Selection. “Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know,” a Kannada short film directed by Chidananda Naik, took first place, while “Bunnyhood,” directed by Mansi Maheshwari, took third. Naik’s film, based on an Indian folktale, was praised for its ability to translate mythology into cinematic experiences. Maheshwari’s “Bunnyhood” tackled the issue of lying, based on a childhood episode with her mother’s appendix surgery.

Celebrating Sengupta’s victory, fellow performer Tillotama Shome expressed her excitement on Instagram, writing, “Just beautiful!!!!!!!!! Making history. Putting us on the map!!! Unfortunately, I don’t have my glasses and can’t seem to figure out how to share this! But I can’t even begin to describe the JOY!!!! Kisses to Anasuya for me please.”

Anasuya Sengupta is originally from Kolkata and has largely worked as a production designer in Mumbai. She worked on the set design of the hit Netflix comedy “Masaba Masaba.” Her acting career began in 2009 with the rock musical “Madly Bangalee” by Bengali filmmaker Anjan Dutt. Despite initial difficulties in finding acting jobs in Mumbai, Sengupta turned her concentration to the art department before landing her breakout role in “The Shameless.”

Other notable Cannes honors included the Un Certain Regard Prize for “Black Dog,” directed by Chinese filmmaker Hu Guan, and the Jury Prize for Boris Lojkine’s “The Story Of Souleymane,” an asylum-seeker drama.

Anasuya Sengupta’s victory at Cannes is a wonderful moment for India, demonstrating the country’s talent and storytelling prowess on an international platform.

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